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almost suppressed in her. But it does not satisfy Thee and Thy loving designs to favor her with Thy presence, to stand at her side, to grant her Thy grace, to command the fever to leave her, no, that does not seem sufficient to Thee, dear Saviour: Thou art decided to restore her primitive nobility, the nobility of the days of innocence, and raise her even to a higher one.
“And taking the woman by the hand He lifted her up.”
It must be the “Lord” and no one else ; for who else could have thought of such a cure? Who else would have felt strength enough to face the custom of centuries, which, in its frightful and wide-spread corruption, even among the Jewish people, treated woman as the slave of man? In her own eyes as well as in those of men she can be raised only by the esteem with which the Saviour surrounds her. At this moment, at the side of the woman, He wants to bring about this double recovery; He wants to increase His favors to her who more and more excites His compassion, and, by this proof of predilection, give a remedy to her, the downtrodden and oppressed of the human race.
"Jesus takes her by the hand."
Woman, henceforth, shall understand His heart, whose secrets He will reveal unto her and whose burning flames she shall feel and see.*)
O woman, understand this elevation in the adoption that a God intimates to thee by the direct help He gives to raise thee up. By a common effort, by the union of His power and thy weakness, shall be brought about thy recovery.
The woman is not mistaken; intelligence is given her; she feels a new life pulse through her veins: "Immediately the fever left her.” And rising up, "she ministered to them.”
It was meal time. To show her gratitude as well as her perfect recovery, she, at once, prepared the viands, set them on the table, and presented them to Jesus and His companions.
The Evangelist notices here a hasty eagerness which is not reported of any other sick person cured by the Saviour.
The Gospel also tells us of other women that served the Saviour on His journeys through Palestine,
The Jewish scribes and doctors, to be unhampered by material cares in their intercourse with their disciples, were usually accompanied by women. Jesus followed this custom.
“And it came to pass afterwards, that He traveled through the cities and towns preaching and evangelizing the kingdom of God; and the Twelve with Him. And certain women, who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary who is called Magdalen, out of whom He had cast seven devils, and Joanna the wife of Chusa, Herod's steward, and many others who ministered to Him out of their substance."'*)
Besides those named by the Evangelist we have to mention Mary, the Mother of Jesus; Salome, the mother of the Zebedees; Mary of Cleophas, mother of the three other Apostles, the sons of Alpheus and brothers of Jesus, and doubtless also His sisters of Nazareth,**) Esther and Thamar, of whom tradition tells us only the names.
*) Luke, VIII. 1-3.
**) It is well known that among the Jews cousins were called brothers and sisters.
"The Gospel shows us only women serving the Lord," says a learned theologian of the XII. century. “They had pledged all their property to assure His daily food, and had charged themselves with furnishing His necessaries. He Himself was the most humble servant of His disciples: He served them at table, washed their feet, and we have no proof that He ever received any service from them or, in fact, from any other man; women ministered to all the wants of His humanity."
At this stage of the Redemption, woman, roused from the sleep of slavery, becomes conscious of her dignity. Hardly rehabilitated herself, she becomes an apostle, sharing every effort in the work of Redemption and partaking of all that restores and elevates. And thus St. Paul writes of her:
“Have we no power to carry about a woman, a sister, as well as the rest of the Apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?”' *)
O Virgin Mary, thou art there in the midst of these women, as the type of all Redemption and of all sanctity; thou art there, the perfect
*) I. Cor., IX. 5.
model of all those whom the Law of the Gospel forms for the service of Jesus.
Soon these holy women of Judea shall find followers and sisters wherever the Apostles shall preach the doctrine of the Saviour. Numerously they shall arise, both from among the Barbarians and the Greek and Roman world. And what a surprise to the whole world are these women consecrated to the daily service of the Saviour! They will renounce their riches and sacrifice their pride, they will quit the opulence of the palace and built sanctuaries for Thee, O Jesus, wherein to live at Thy feet. Others shall confess Thee before the executioner. O Christ, adored in all centuries, woman shall continue to serve Thee according to the wants and necessities of to-day's social condition in the same Apostolic spirit: her personality and social action are progressing and developing with them. And to serve Thee better, she is always daring more: in the poverty of the cloister she hides with poverty; in prisons, with vice, to bring thither purity and the grace of Redemption; in the hospitals, with suffering. But always with Thee, Lord, whose image.she carries valiantly and triumphantly